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Beyond the microscope

Fotolab_Leandro Lemgruber-3The image—evoking a graffiti-like effect, its outlines softly blurred—is among the prizewinners recognized in 2016 by Great Britain’s Wellcome Images, one of the world’s most renowned repositories of scientific iconography.  Three toxoplasmosis-causing parasites appear by means of a super-resolution microscopic technique, which, according to Rio de Janeiro biophysicist Leandro Lemgruber, utilizes optical, mathematic and computational features to amplify what one sees through a standard microscope.  “The resolution is not that of the electron microscope,” explains Lemgruber “but it has the advantage of allowing us to observe both the structures containing antibodies and the live material itself.”  Researchers can now view proteins from a variety of protozoa (including those that cause malaria and sleeping sickness) and analyze their life cycles.

Image submitted by Leandro Lemgruber of the images division of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland